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UK Southall Sikhs Join Protest Against English Defence League


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
SIKHS from Southall made a triumphant stand against the far-right English Defence League in Luton on Saturday.

They joined other religious groups from across west London to stage a counter-protest as the EDL held its demonstration in the town centre.

Playing the dhol, a Punjabi war drum, they carried a banner that read: "Sikhs Against the English Defence League - Fighting Intolerance since 1699", a reference to the establishment of martial Sikhism by the 10th Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

The group United Against Fascism helped organise the protest. Balwinder Singh Rana, a Southall resident and spokesman for UAF said: "We came from Southall to join our Muslim brothers and sisters in Luton to help them defend their community.

"The atmosphere there was fantastic. We were playing the dhol and singing and chanting. We were surrounded on all sides by applause.

"Southall has a proud history of standing up to racists and fascists. We had the same problems in the 70s that the people of Luton face today.

"The police kept us separated from the EDL so we were in no danger but I believe some Muslims in Luton had

their windows smashed later that day."

Salvinder Singh Dhillon of the Indian Workers Association, who also lives in Southall, was at the rally.

He said: "The poison of racism serves to divide people and weaken their common struggles against the attacks by the state on their liveli-hood, against imposition of tuition fees, and the pending massive spend

ing cuts in social services, health and education."

Mr Rana said UAF is planning another counter-protest to coincide with the EDL's next demonstration in Birmingham on March 19.


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